Nogales’ Coy Colgate (10) is “extremely smart, extremely strong, and he gives 100 percent effort at all times,” according to his coach, Kevin Kuhm.

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star 2012

Over the month of August, the Star is counting down Southern Arizona’s top football players. Our list continues today with Nogales’ Coy Colgate, a team captain who is continuing the football tradition in his family.

Coy Colgate

The rundown: Coy Colgate, RB/FB/MLB, 5-9, 215, Nogales, junior

Who he is: Colgate’s uniform should be draped in warning signs. Entering his third season as the Apaches’ middle linebacker, Colgate is on a seek-and-destroy mission to hit someone on every play, whether they have the ball or not. As Nogales’ lead blocker at fullback, Colgate would rather deliver a bone-crushing blow than score a touchdown. Then, when lining up as the tailback in the Apaches’ heavy formation, Colgate has a nose for the end zone: He rushed for 635 yards and 13 touchdowns a year ago. After Nogales failed to make the state playoffs for the first time in five seasons last year, Colgate grew tired by the lack of chemistry and effort his teammates showed in practices. Colgate was voted as a captain by his teammates and is like another coach on the team. In the weight room, he brings an accountability and intensity matched by few. Colgate first knew he could play with the varsity squad as a freshman, before they even hit the field, because he was matching or surpassing seniors in the weight room. This summer he has upped his bench max to 315 pound and squats 500. He also has been trying to add more speed to his game in order to outrun defenders and make more tackles. Colgate, who runs a 4.72 40-yard dash, finished his freshman season with 123 total tackles, 8.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries. Over the last two seasons, in 23 games, he has amassed 235 total tackles, and 11ƒ sacks. Colgate can’t receive official scholarship offers until Sept. 1, though the opportunities to play at the next level may come soon enough. Colgate has piqued the interest of Texas A&M, Nebraska, Hawaii and Azusa Pacific.

Proof he’s good: Football is in his blood and has always been a big part of Colgate’s life. His father, Tim, is Nogales’ athletic director and previously coached in high school. Coy spent his freshman season playing alongside his older brother, Nick, as Nogales reached the state semifinals for the first time in program history. Coy said his brother, now a defensive back at Chadron State in Nebraska, always pushed him to be better, whether it was in gym or just teasing him at home. Nick also helped Coy get ready for the season while home for the summer. In the days leading up to a game, Coy watches about half a game of film a night. He watches every play and breaks down what the opposing offense likes to run in every situation. He figures out percentages for what that offense does on first, second and third downs, when the ball is on the left hash and the right. Then he tops it off by watching special teams film.

He said it: “He’s got a very high football IQ, and he’s got great instincts. I’ve never met a player who hits as hard as Coy. I’ll put it this way, he’s the best football player I’ve ever coached. He reminds me a lot of Jake Fischer when he was at Ironwood Ridge. He’s not very tall, but he’s extremely smart, extremely strong, and he gives 100 percent effort at all times.” — Nogales coach Kevin Kuhm